In Memoriam: Helen Baca

Helen Baca; Image Source: Elena, a friend
Just yesterday, it seems like I began working at the Education Service Center, Region 20 with Helen Baca. Helen's wry humor, her direct approach appealed to me. Given the chance to charge a hill occupied by the enemy, Helen is exactly the kind of person I'd rely on.

In fact, she remains the archetype for me, the kind of person who is honest, direct, and able to find humor in situations. I vaguely remember being astonished to find out she had been a Marine in her past. That always impressed me, as I feel an affinity with the Armed Forces, having grown up near an Army base and my father having retired from Army service.

We became work colleagues and then, as professionals working to solve real problems, we came to rely on each other and grew into work friends.  Friends like Helen, though, only come along once in a blue moon.

It seemed only natural to recommend her for work in Northside ISD as a database developer and manager, given that we had worked so well together when at the ESC. I was always pleased to be able to work with Helen, to learn from her wisdom and her expertise in Filemaker Pro databases. In fact, the last time I saw her was maybe two years ago when we went out for lunch at Thai Taste in Northside ISD. It was one of my favorite haunts when I worked there, and I took along a colleague (now retired) who had some Filemaker Pro questions I couldn't answer. It seemed only natural to turn to Helen.

Helen and I often teased each other...I remember her smiles always, the side by side work. She always hated my fact, this is the only photo I was able to capture (shown right). Helen was strong, brave, honest, possessed of integrity. Being near her helped me be a better person, to be more forthright and direct. I am profoundly grateful that our lives intersected for a time, that her wisdom could help me better to understand changing circumstances.

It seems so few words to say about a friend who has suffered and moved on. They are insufficient to capture the depth of loss and sadness I felt at her passing yesterday on Monday, July 11, 2016. Yet, the person I remember (and always will) would not want anyone to spend a lot of time grieving. I suspect that she'd say something witty and funny, and life would move on. I can only extend my sincere condolences to Alicia, and other family members.

Hasta la proxima, Helen. Hugs and kisses. You will never be forgotten...I will still look for you at the TCEA Conference, when we were most likely to run into each other and catch up. Who knows, we may end up working together again, no matter what you say. ;-)
Image Source: Elena, a friend

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